Truth to Power

Strange partners on fed audit

Outing the Fed

The weirdness of this political system is reflected in the fact that it takes a Socialist senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, and a libertarian Republican from Texas, Rep. Ron Paul, to beat the banking lobby. The Democrats are making a show of “Wall Street reform” but choking on the tough issues. Republicans are in the tank, as expected, though nervous about the public fury.

Sanders and Paul, however, found an opening with their bill to force a GAO audit of the sacrosanct Federal Reserve. This is a big deal, much bigger than most imagine. Congress has sputtered for years about the Fed’s imperious secrecy but never found the nerve to do anything. The Sanders-Paul audit bill, if it passes, will only be a first breach in the wall, but it promises to keep alive popular demands for more fundamental reforms.

Rep. Alan Grayson, the first-term Floiida Democrat who partnered with Paul to pass the House version, has a distinctive way of explaining things with brutal clarity. “Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke doesn’t want an audit because Ben Bernanke doesn’t want to be audited,” Grayson said. “Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the former head of the New York Fed, doesn’t want an audit because Tim Geithner doesn’t want to be audited.”</em>


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